Ford Recalls 830K Vehicles Because Doors Should Stay Shut When Closed

Image courtesy of Don Buciak II

For the better part of two years Ford has been the center of federal safety investigations related to certain sedan doors that just wouldn’t stay shut. This week, the carmaker announced it would recall 830,000 vehicles to replace side door latches in certain states. 

Ford announced Thursday the recall of 828,053 vehicles — including 766,682 in the United States and 61,371 in Mexico — that contain a side door latch spring that could break.

The recall covers model year 2013-15 Ford C-MAX, 2013-15 Ford Escape, 2012-15 Ford Focus, 2015 Ford Mustang and Lincoln MKC, and 2014-16 Ford Transit Connect vehicles.

According to Ford, the pawl spring tab in the side door latch could break, which could then prevent the door from latching.

In certain situations where the door is able to be closed, the door may unlatch while driving, increasing the risk of injury. Ford has identified one reported accident and one reported injury that may be related to this issue.

The recall is primarily focused on Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Oregon and Washington, because the rate of reports related to the issue are higher for “vehicles in states with higher ambient temperatures and solar loading” — places where your car gets really, really hot when it sits out in the sun.

Dealers will replace side door latches at no cost to the customer.

Additionally, Ford plans to launch a corresponding customer satisfaction program for vehicles outside the scope of this recall. For example, if a vehicle exhibits a broken door latch, Ford will provide a one-time replacement at no charge for the life of the vehicle.

Ford’s recall comes six months after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation into nearly 400,000 model year 2012 and 2013 Ford Focus vehicles after receiving consumer complaints alleging the doors don’t remain latched.

According to documents [PDF] from the agency, NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation received 73 reports from consumers that doors fail to latch, with several reports indicating that the “door ajar” warning light on the dash appeared.

In some cases, drivers alleged that the door opened while the vehicle was being driven, while other say they have had to physically tie down the door.

“My daughter was driving and the driver door latch failed and the door wouldn’t stay shut,” one Focus owner reports to NHTSA. “The dealership said the defect is in the door latch. Said there is a recall but only for Fusion and Fiesta models.”

The latch issue found on the Focus vehicles is similar to that previously tied to 456,000 model year 2011-2013 Ford Fiesta, model year 2013 Ford Fusion, and Lincoln MKZ vehicles.

NHTSA closed a year-long investigation into those vehicles in December after determining that a recall by Ford to replace all four door latches on affected models fixed the problem.